‘We don’t close unless… you can’t get there”

Anthony Holloway

Lefton: Cold temperatures don’t affect administration’s decisions to cancel classes


The administration’s plan for the winter weather boils down to a criteria that aims to cover all aspects of student safety.

The criteria looked at by John Peach, director of Public Safety , and Thomas Euclide, executive director of Facilities Planning and Operations, is broken down into the following three parts:

1. Are the primary roads clear enough so that students can drive to campus? Peach, who is also the Kent State Chief of Police, uses local officer feedback, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the National Weather Service to help him decide if the primary roads are safe enough for students.

2. Are there enough parking spots for students as they arrive to campus? Dialogue between Euclide and Peach helps to correctly assess the conditions at hand and to determine what needs to be done to make the campus student-ready.

3. Can the university’s staff keep up with the snow accumulation? This means the campus grounds crew must be able to keep up with clearing the sidewalks and parking lots throughout the day.

President Lester Lefton said cold temperatures are not a determining factor for canceling classes.

“We don’t close because it’s cold,” he said. ” … And it is cold. The reality is when the public schools, you know, the elementary schools close, that puts pressure, or students think that puts pressure, on us to close, but you guys are adults. I mean, people go to work.

“… You don’t see the mall closing. You don’t see the banks closing. You don’t see the bars closing … We’re not closing because it’s cold. Wear a hat. Wear mittens. I mean, that’s sort of just the way it is. We’ve got a basic policy on that: We don’t close unless you can’t park or you can’t get here.”

How to find out if classes are canceled

Once these factors are considered, the information is forwarded to Gregg Floyd, vice president for finance and administration, who influences the final decision.

The decision for morning and all-day cancellations is usually made before 6 a.m., 10 a.m. for afternoon classes and 3 p.m. for evening classes.

If a decision to delay or cancel classes is made, then the next step is to notify students. Students can find out about a delay or cancellation in several ways.

1. Flash Alerts: This text messaging service is available to students, and it allows them to be notified of a class delay or cancellation, as well as any non-weather related emergency. The service has a new feature that allows a student to add multiple phone numbers and e-mail addresses to their account. Students can sign up for Flash Alerts by going to www.kent.edu/flashalerts.

2. Kent State Advisory: By going to www.kent.edu/advisory, students can get the most recent updates on class status and a list of television and radio stations that will announce if any of the eight Kent State campuses are canceled. Scott Rainone, the assistant director of university and media relations, sees the advisory site as the best source to check because of the site’s timely postings.

“As soon as a decision is made, the decision is posted on the Web site,” Rainone said.

3. E-mail: Even if the university doesn’t officially cancel or delay classes, there is a possibility that a teacher may send out an e-mail canceling a class.

Contact news correspondent Anthony Holloway at [email protected].